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Dhaka Tribune

Dipu Moni: Govt working to improve quality of life of people with autism  

'The awareness about autism should be spread among every person in society'

Update : 04 Apr 2024, 12:08 AM

Social Welfare Minister Dr Dipu Moni has said that the government is working for the betterment of people with autism because they are an integral part of society.

The minister said these while addressing a program, organized on the occasion of the 17th World Autism Awareness Day 2024 at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in the capital on Tuesday.

Secretary of the Ministry of Social Welfare Md Khairul Alam Sheikh presided over the program while President of the Parliamentary Committee on the Ministry of Social Welfare AFM Ruhul Haque was present at the event as a special guest.

Speaking as the chief guest, Dr Dipu Moni said that awareness about autism should be spread among every person in society. A vision must be created so that people with autism get the same rights and respect as other citizens of the country. They should be enabled to survive in society by being provided with proper care, training, and employment.

Regarding the use of information technology in creating awareness about autism and basic knowledge, the minister said: “We are living in an era of free flow of information. The country is now 100% digital. Apart from the conventional media, we can learn about many things, including local and international news, immediately through social media. Through the open source of the internet, we can learn about autism and other neurological disorders.”

The minister said: “We can create awareness about this through various government institutions, autism researchers, doctors, and private or social initiatives. If a child's parents or guardians realize early in their development that their child has a neurological disability, it will be much easier to treat, care for, live with, and grow up with. They will also be freed from various prejudices prevalent in society about autism or neurological disabilities.”

Highlighting various programs of the government for the welfare of people with Neuro-Developmental Disability (NDD) and autism, the minister said that special grants are being provided from NDD Trust for their treatment, training for parents and caregivers of NDD children and individuals, and detection and assessment of autism. Apps called Smart Autism Barta and Bolte Chai have been developed. 

The development of modern screening tools to identify NDD individuals is ongoing. To ensure the health protection of children and persons with NDD characteristics, Bangabandhu Surakkha Bima has been launched. Also, schools related to NDD are being monitored and provided with services digitally. Job fairs are being organized for NDD persons to create employment opportunities as well as social awareness. NDD goodwill ambassadors are being appointed at schools, colleges, universities and local level.

The minister expressed hope that if the government as well as private initiatives are taken, the lives of these children will be easier.

Earlier, the minister handed over crests and certificates to 13 individuals and organizations nominated for awards in five categories and lit a blue lamp in recognition of their work on autism.

At the end of the program, a cultural event was held with the participation of children with autism.

 This year, the theme of the day was “Awareness-Recognition-Valuation: A Journey from Just Surviving to Prosperity”.

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